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U.S. Military Action Against the Islamic State: Answers to Frequently Asked Legal Questions

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Congressional rept.

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The capture of significant portions of Iraqi territory in June 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ISIL or ISIS, which has subsequently begun formally referring to itself as the Islamic State IS, has prompted renewed U.S. military action in Iraq, along with the discussion of possible military strikes against IS forces located in Syria. Between March 2003 and the end of 2011, the U.S. military forces had been deployed in Iraq first to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power and then to assist the nascent post-Saddam government in responding to threats to the country s stability. Following the expiration of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement at the end of 2011, offensive U.S. military operations ceased and most U.S. forces were withdrawn. In the wake of a successful offensive in northern and central Iraq by the Islamic State in June 2014, however, the Iraqi government requested assistance by the United States in responding to IS forces, including through airstrikes. Shortly thereafter, the United States deployed military personnel to collect intelligence and logistical information regarding IS activities, advise Iraqi security forces, and provide additional security to U.S. personnel and facilities located in Iraq. Beginning in August, President Obama authorized U.S. forces to begin limited airstrikes against the Islamic State to stop further advances by the insurgent forces, protect U.S. military and nonmilitary personnel, and support certain humanitarian operations within Iraq. Continuing activities by the Islamic State, including the group s apparent responsibility for the execution of two U.S. journalists, have led some policy makers to consider the possibility of expanding the scope of U.S. military action against the Islamic State.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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